Health Benefits of Sweet Potato

The sweet potato is a large, starchy and sweet-tasting tuberous root which is considered as one of the most nutritious root vegetable.  Depending on variety, the sweet potato flesh comes in colors of white, yellow, orange and purple. The orange-fleshed ones are among the top sources of beta-carotene. It has many culinary uses in different parts of the world; it is also a staple food crop in some countries including in rural areas in the Philippines where the tubers are usually boiled or baked in coals.

For every cup (328 g) of cooked, boiled without skin and mashed sweet potato, here’s how healthy it is.

1. Good for the eyes (Vitamin A – 1033% DV)
The color of the flesh of fruits and vegetables says something about their nutrients. The orange-fleshed varieties like the sweet potato indicate that they are blushing with vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. Bake or make into potato fries and serve as snacks to promote healthy eyesight.

2. Keeps teeth and gums healthy (Vitamin C – 70% DV)
Fruits, particularly acerola and guava are nature’s top sources of vitamin C. But did you know that sweet potatoes are also loaded with this very important vitamin? Every cup can deliver 70% of the daily value of the nutrient known to prevent loose teeth and bleeding gums.

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3. Strengthens bones (Manganese – 44% DV)
Are you looking for another supporter in preventing osteoporosis? The sweet potato is one of the perfect foods to be had. It contains almost half of the DV of manganese, a mineral which plays an important role in bone metabolism.

4. Regulates cholesterol levels (Fiber – 33% DV)
It is also rich in fiber, a carbohydrate which has shown to be an effective helper in lowering blood cholesterol levels. Fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes are all important sources of fiber.

5. Keeps heart healthy (Vitamin B6 – 27% DV)
Sweet potatoes help prevent homocysteine build-up in the blood by providing vitamin B6. High homocyteine levels in the blood are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

6. Controls blood pressure levels (Potassium -22% DV)
Potassium-rich foods are hypertension-fighting foods. If you want to prevent abnormal blood pressure levels, reach for potassium-rich fruits  and enjoy a delicious sweet potato pie.

7. Fights stress (Pantothenic Acid – 19% DV)
It is a good source of pantothenic acid, a B vitamin which plays an important part in the body’s ability to produce stress hormones. It is believed that when a person becomes stressed, the pantothenic acid in the body is used up that is why there is a need to stock up for more.

8. Prevents wrinkles (Vitamin E – 15% DV)
It can deliver a good amount of vitamin E, a nutrient known for its benefits in skin aging. Avocados and kiwifruits are among the must-eat fruits if you want a natural source of vitamin E.

9. Stabilizes blood sugar levels (Magnesium – 15% DV)
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, yet few people are aware of its benefits. Study participants have shown that those who consume a high magnesium diet were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Tamarinds, prickly pears and jackfruit are among the highest sources of manganese in fruits.

10. Helps the body produce energy (Iron – 13% DV)
If you have been feeling fatigue and weak, your body may be calling for more iron. Have some sweet potato to boost oxygen distribution throughout your body with the help of its rich iron supply.

* Nutrient data source: USDA

© K Kristie